ZenBusiness was founded in 2015, and since then this Texas-based company has formed thousands of businesses and accumulated hundreds of positive reviews.
There are dozens of companies online that will help you form an LLC, but ZenBusiness has proven themselves to be one of the top LLC formation services available.
This ZenBusiness LLC service review takes an in-depth look at the details of their offerings to help you determine if they’re the right choice for forming your new business.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of ZenBusiness:
✔ They are one of the most affordable LLC services available with pricing that starts at just $39. This is $60 less than LegalZoom, the most well-known service.
✔ ZenBusiness does a great job of making the entire process of forming an LLC feel approachable and exciting. As opposed to some other services that try to scare or trick the user into purchasing add-on services, ZenBusiness offers optional features/services in a tasteful way.
✔ Customer feedback is a major strength for ZenBusiness. They have hundreds of reviews and nearly all of them are positive.
✔ In their efforts to help you start and maintain your business, they offer to take care of annual report filing and other ongoing LLC maintenance. This is part of their Worry Free Guarantee (included in the Pro package).
✔ What’s also unique is that ZenBusiness is a socially conscious organization, focused on doing good while growing as a company. They have a partnership with Kiva.org to help lift people out of poverty through financial lending and loan money to help women- and minority-owned businesses get off the ground.
Disadvantages of ZenBusiness:
✖ Their turnaround times are difficult to pin down. For example, their Starter plan advertises that a Colorado LLC will be formed between 1-2 weeks. However, when we formed an LLC in Colorado to test their services with that plan, it only took 3 days. On one hand it was a nice surprise to have the LLC formed faster than advertised – but we also think it’s important to have clarity on timeline.
ZenBusiness LLC Formation Packages
With ZenBusiness, you get three LLC formation package options: Starter, Pro, and Premium. If you want to see the full details of each package for yourself, you can check out how they list these options on their website.
Below are the most noteworthy features included in each ZenBusiness formation package:
Starter = $39 + State Fee
➢ Name Availability Search: ZenBusiness will search through the business database of your formation state in order to determine whether the business name you want is available, or if it’s already claimed by another entity.
➢ Preparation and Filing of Articles of Organization: These documents are the forms required by the state to formally create your new LLC. ZenBusiness will draft your articles of organization, then file them with your state of formation.
➢ Registered Agent Service: Every LLC operating in America is required to designate a registered agent, which is a person or business entity that receives important document deliveries from the state on behalf of your business, then forwards them to you. ZenBusiness will give you 12 months free and the option to renew at $119/year after that.
➢ LLC Operating Agreement: An operating agreement is a document that outlines the ownership structure of your business, along with laying some ground rules for the way your company will operate. ZenBusiness will provide a customizable template to help you create your own operating agreement.
➢ Worry Free CPA Assesment: ZenBusiness offers a free accounting and tax assessment from their licensed CPAs to help determine your bookkeeping, accounting and tax needs. It’s handled entirely in-house by ZenBusiness (not through a 3rd party like every other LLC service).
Pro = $149 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Starter package, plus…
➢ Federal Tax ID Number (EIN): An EIN is similar to a Social Security Number for your business entity. It’s a nine-digit numerical code that enables your LLC to open business bank accounts, hire employees, file taxes, and more. With this feature, ZenBusiness will acquire one for you.
➢ Worry Free Guarantee: This feature includes the preparation and filing of your annual report, along with two amendments per year. Plus, if you ever miss a filing deadline with your state, ZenBusiness will help you regain your good standing.
➢ Banking Resolution: ZenBusiness will provide you with a customizable Banking Resolution, a form indicating who has the authority to open a business bank account for your LLC.
Premium = $249 + State Fee
Includes everything from the Pro package, plus…
➢ Domain Name Registration: They will obtain a domain name for your company’s website, and include a domain management dashboard tool.
➢ Rush Filing Speed: ZenBusiness will prioritize your LLC’s document filings above those of Starter and Pro Plan users.
➢ Domain Name Privacy: This feature helps keep your personal information from becoming publicly available as a result of your domain name filing.
➢ Business Email Address: ZenBusiness provides Premium customers with a business email account (with 5GB of storage space).
➢ Business Website: In addition to privately registering a domain name for your company, ZenBusiness will also help you set up a business website.
ZenBusiness Customer Reviews
Even though ZenBusiness has only been around a few years, they already have a pretty healthy amount of customer feedback — most of which is extremely positive.
On the whole, it seems that ZenBusiness’ customers are quite pleased with the efficiency of their services, as well as the ease of use their platform provides. On Trustpilot, they’ve received an average of 4.7/5 stars from just over 900 reviews.
Should You Form an LLC With ZenBusiness?
ZenBusiness has a lot of positive aspects, but they won’t be the perfect fit for every entrepreneur. With that in mind, let’s finish this review of ZenBusiness with a quick discussion of who their LLC formation service is (and isn’t) right for.
✔ Use ZenBusiness If:
If you’re looking for one of the most affordable LLC services and best overall value, use ZenBusiness. Not to mention, they’re a socially conscious company with high customer satisfaction.
✖ Don’t Use ZenBusiness If:
If you’re in a hurry to get your business formed, there are other LLC formation services that advertise faster turnaround times than ZenBusiness.
After reviewing and ranking all the top LLC formation services, ZenBusiness came out as one of the best services available due to their excellent prices and customer feedback. They offer far more features than popular alternatives like LegalZoom (all while charging $60 less). All in all, they’re a very easy company to recommend.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got ZenBusiness questions? We’ve got answers.
If I Use ZenBusiness to Form an LLC, Which Package Should I Choose?
Depending on your budget and the needs of your business, there are two different ZenBusiness packages that we really like. First, it’s hard to find any fault with their Starter plan, because it costs just $39, and it includes the full formation of your LLC and registered agent service.
We also like their $149 Pro plan, which adds an EIN, operating agreement, managed annual report service, and a banking resolution. (See Packages)
How Does ZenBusiness Compare to Other LLC Services?
As you probably know, there are a lot of online LLC formation services. If you’d like a better idea of how ZenBusiness stacks up to the most popular and top rated services, check out our comparison reviews:
Does ZenBusiness Handle New York Publication Requirements?
While nearly every other business formation service leaves you on your own to take care of state-specific compliance requirements like New York publication requirements, ZenBusiness sticks by your side. Here’s their description of their New York publication service.
Does ZenBusiness Have Good Customer Support?
ZenBusiness recently made significant strides that turned their customer support from arguably the least accessible in the industry to being fairly impressive. Up until a couple months ago, ZenBusiness didn’t even offer phone or email support to any of their clients, but today they provide support via phone, email, or their web-based chat application. All of which are very helpful.
Can I Form an LLC on My Own?
This is always an option, and quite a few entrepreneurs do form their own LLCs every day. On the other hand, some people hire business lawyers to form their LLCs, but this is a far more expensive option than using an online business formation service.
Do They Have a Refund Policy?
Sort of, but it’s a bit complicated. Here it is in their own words: “Once ZenBusiness has submitted your business for filing with the State under no circumstances can you charge-back or dispute the fees associated with forming your business.
If you contact ZenBusiness before your business has been submitted for filing with the State, ZenBusiness may refund the charge, less a $50 cancellation fee, if certain conditions are met.” We will note that they do not specify what those “certain conditions” are, only that they must be met in order for you to receive a refund.
Should I Reserve My LLC Name Before Forming an LLC With ZenBusiness?
This step is unnecessary for the vast majority of our readers, but for some it is advisable. If you’re not yet ready to enter the LLC formation process, but you want to ensure that the name you want is still available when the time comes, you should reserve a name.
The other situation where this is a good idea is if you’re forming a business in Alabama, which has a name reservation requirement for all LLC formations. Otherwise, reserving a name in advance is probably a waste of time and money.
Can I Form an LLC Without Physically Being in the United States?
You sure can. In fact, just about anyone can form an LLC in America. You don’t need to be an American citizen or resident, you don’t need to have a physical presence in the U.S., etc. This is one of the reasons the LLC is so popular ― there are very few restrictions regarding who can form and operate an LLC.
What Is the ZenBusiness Customer Support Phone Number and Email?
You can reach ZenBusiness via phone by calling 512-237-7349 between the hours of 9am and 8pm ET on weekdays. Their support email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and they can also be reached by using the web-based chat application on their website.
Does ZenBusiness Sell or Share My Information With Third Parties?
One of the ways some LLC formation services make money is by sharing your info with third-party partners under the guise of “free extras” or “special offers.”
Their upper-tier packages have features like “Domain name registration” and “Corporate website” that are provided by third parties.
If this is something you’d prefer to not deal with but want to use ZenBusiness, simply choose the Starter $39 package, which has none of them. Or just click ‘no’ when the options appear.
I’ve Heard LegalZoom Has a Lot of Upsells. Does ZenBusiness?
We tested the ZenBusiness ordering process to see how many upsells we encountered. We chose their $39 Starter plan, entered some personal information, and then began placing our order.
As we worked our way through their order form, they attempted upsells to add an EIN ($70), their Worry Free Guarantee ($110/year), a banking resolution ($30), a business website formation package ($50/year), and a domain name ($25/year).
In short, while not nearly as many as LegalZoom, there are a handful of upsells with ZenBusiness. However, the main difference between their upsells and other services’ is that ZenBusiness is a bit more tasteful with it. Some other services use somewhat intimidating language to get you to buy, while ZenBusiness’ feel sincerely helpful.
How Quickly Does ZenBusiness Process LLC Formations?
Most companies in this industry base their turnaround times on the actual requirements of each state, but ZenBusiness operates differently to an extent.
Their processing speeds are based on a combination of state capabilities, and which level of service you order from them. In general, they estimate the following turnaround times, although depending on your state, it could take significantly longer (like in the Alabama example we used earlier, with a 58 business day turnaround estimate):
- Starter ($39-119/year): 3-4 weeks
- Pro ($149/year): 1-2 weeks
- Premium ($249/year): 3-5 days
My LLC Needs an EIN. Is It Worth the Money?
This honestly comes down to a matter of your personal preferences and comfort levels. Some entrepreneurs like the convenience of having an EIN confirmation in the same place as our LLC formation paperwork, so in our opinion it is worth the extra $70. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can obtain your own EIN for free from the IRS.
Ready to Form Your LLC?
Form your LLC with ZenBusiness today or read our comparison of the top 7 LLC services.
ZenBusiness LLC Service Alternatives
There are dozens of service providers offering LLC formations online, so if ZenBusiness doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, let’s look at two other good options – IncFile and Northwest.
☆ IncFile – $0: Our favorite alternative to ZenBusiness is IncFile. With pricing that starts at $0 and includes a year of registered agent service plus many other features, IncFile is a solid bargain. IncFile also has a great track record and fabulous customer feedback.
Northwest – $79: Another solid option is Northwest Registered Agent, which offers LLC formation service starting at $79. Northwest also includes a year of registered agent in any formation package, and their highly personalized customer support is the best in the industry.